"The Bible tells us in Acts 5:42 (CEV), "Every day they spent time in the temple and in one home after another. They never stopped teaching and telling the good news that Jesus is the Messiah." They met in large groups for worship and small groups for fellowship. This biblical strategy still works today. If your church is going to be healthy, it must be growing larger and smaller at the same time. What does this mean? Larger through celebration services and worship, and smaller through your small groups." -- Rick Warren
This is the duplicity of Rick Warren. All verse 42 says is they spent time in the temple and in each other's homes and Jesus was always at the forefront. He then twists this into them meeting in large groups for worship and the small groups for fellowship. The bible does not make that distinction but Warren needs it to sell the purpose driven model. Then comes the insidious hook of purposedrivenism. That in order to be healthy your church must be growing larger. Says who Rick? Not the bible. There are no set instructions demanding growth. In fact, Acts specifically says that God gives the increase! If you pastor a church of 200 that never grows but the 200 get into heaven you will hear well done my faithful servant! The church growth demand is a myth created by Rick Warren that makes pastors abandon the bible in pursuit of fame and fortune. Likewise, the bible also says nowhere that we need to be growing smaller through small groups. I believe fellowship groups should be encouraged organically and perhaps can form around similar interests, but they should not contain pseudo leaders or biblical curricula. Let the pastor shepherd and the sheep be led.
"What did these first small groups do? Think about all of that explosive growth. Whatever they did, we should do, too! The Bible gives us the answers in Acts 2:42-47. They grew spiritually. Verse 42a (NIV) says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching." It appears the apostles were teaching in the temple courts on Sunday, and the people were studying their teachings in greater depth in their homes. As they did so, the people grew in spiritual maturity." -- Rick Warren
The Book of Acts expressly says that the growth was due to God and God alone! Stop trying to steal the credit and His glory! Note again the duplicity. It appears to Rick that they must have been having small groups. No Rick, that is not what the text says:
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. -- Acts 2:46-47 (ESV)
They attended temple together and broke bread in their homes. Now, I am sure that they had discussion about the teachings they had received but that does not mean they ran small groups! The apostles did not create the groups, give them fill in the blank curricula to finish at home and appoint leaders that were wholly unqualified, you know, the purpose driven way. The breaking of bread and fellowship was a natural outgrowth of being together spiritually in the temple. Nowhere in Acts do we see the apostles ceding their leadership responsibilities to anyone fellowshipping in their homes.
"They spent time in fellowship. The Bible says, "They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts" (Acts 2:46b). The early church gathered together in homes to eat and develop relationships with one another. They worshipped. They devoted themselves "to the breaking of bread and to prayer" and they were "praising God" (Acts 2:42, 47). These early small groups participated in communion and worshipped together." -- Rick Warren
Rick Warren hopes you are just too stupid to realize that he never proved these were small groups. Now he is speaking as if it is established fact and it most certainly is not. This is the model of what the church is supposed to be. Gathering to be fed corporately and fellowshipping together outside the church in prayer, fellowship and yes even communion. Remember the keys though. Nowhere in Acts do we see the Apostles abdicate their roles and responsibilities and